Submission to the Australian Government Review of Remote Employment Services
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Central Land Council (Australia) -- Periodicals; Aboriginal Australians -- Northern Territory -- Land tenure -- Periodicals
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2 there is failure in such programs, is to blame the Aboriginal participants. A common excuse is that Aboriginal people just dont want to work even though weve done everything to help them. This is simply not true. There is a strong demand by Aboriginal people to work and much of the problem lies with the current system, particularly the role of externally based JSA providers. Unfortunately the prevailing perception is that in the current context remote Aboriginal employment area is seen as a cash cow for most JSA providers. Securing payments based on obtaining the signatures of Aboriginal clients in remote Central Australia appears to the singular objective of some JSAs. In one situation the signatures have been likened to gold in terms of the value to the JSA providers. Anecdotally, for most clients, once signed-up, then this is the last time they will see the JSA officer. The current approach to JSA delivery needs to be reconsidered and strategies need to be developed that lead to meaningful outcomes for remote Aboriginal people looking to enter the workforce. DEEWR should immediately cease funding to JSA providers who fail to deliver meaningful and lasting outcomes for remote communities. It is recognised that absolute number of jobs available in the remote communities are limited. However, jobs do exist and local Aboriginal people need to be supported to fill these. Lack of understanding of the remote context and need to build ongoing relationships A major issue is that many of the JSA providers operate nationally and have contracts all over Australia. It may be that they are effective in the larger centres and cities but it is a completely different situation in remote Central Australian communities. They are perceived by many of our constituents as lacking a genuine commitment to understanding the context and, in addition, have failed to establish relationships with the communities they are contracted to assist. The CLC impression, based on interactions through our employment unit, is that the JSA providers have an ingrained perception that Aboriginal people do not want to work. This misconception appears to be a result of the fact that remote JSA providers have struggled to form strong relationships with communities and other key stake holders such as the Land Councils and local government Shires as well as other local employers. The impression is that most JSA providers dont understand the people and communities they are supposed to be assisting. Many other organisations that deal with JSAs tell us that they are very difficult to work with. The absence of such relationships at present is further evidenced by the fact that community people struggle to understand what a JSA providers role is. People are often asked to sign paper work they dont understand and there is no follow up for a long time. This has resulted in a serious lack of trust of JSA providers.